STATEMENT: WORLD WIDE FUND FOR NATURE – THAILAND
World Wide Fund for Nature – The verdict today in the Premchai Karnasuta case is a victory for wildlife and a victory for the rule of law. This is a clear message from the Thai courts that wildlife crime will not be tolerated - no matter who you are. We hope the sentence will stand and not be reduced.
Today at the Thong Pha Phum Court, Premchai was sentenced to 16 months in jail for illegal possession of a dead pheasant and weapons, and for involvement with poaching. The court also ordered Premchai and Thanee to pay 2 million baht in compensation to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
Premchai and three other defendants who are his close aides were arrested at their campsite in Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary in Kanchanaburi in early February 2018. The discovery of freshly butchered protected animals, including a black leopard, caused public outrage, since some of the species are listed as endangered species andthus, illegal to kill. In addition, guns and rifles were found at the campsite which is located in a restricted area of the national park where Premchai was arrested.
We want to thank Khun Whichien and his team at Thung Yai National Park for their courage in the arrest of Mr. Premchai, and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation for the professional manner in which they handled this case. We also commend the Thai courts for a courageous decision to uphold the rule of law.
Finally, we want to thank the Thai people who made this story front page news for months and demanded justice. Today justice was served and the Thai people should celebrate this decision.
The judiciary process will continue in the Appeals Court and we will join the Thai public in demanding that justice will be done.